On Becoming Elena Insarova

Carol Ueland, Drew University

The leading Russian woman poet of the first wave emigration to the Far East was born Rimma Ivanovna Vinogradova (1903–1964) but published under various pseudonyms, most notably “Marjana Kolosova” and “Elena Insarova,” the latter adopted from Turgenev’s heroine in On the Eve. Like Marina Cvetaeva during her period of emigration in Western Europe, Vinogradova became celebrated as a bard of the White Army in the Asian Russian émigré community. She was exceptional among poets of the eastward emigration in finding a broader audience in Europe. Married to A. N. Pokrovskij, the co-founder of the Russian Fascist Party in China, she was a politically engaged poet both in life and art and in her writing often blurred the boundaries between the biographical and the imaginary. Her fierce patriotism almost led to a return to the Soviet Union after the Second World War, but ended in a further emigration to Chile. This presentation will explore the ways in which her pseudonyms relate to her thematic concerns in verse, and trace the development of the various personae in her corpus.